Pierattelli Architetture has redesigned a 19th-century building, Palazzo Stefanelli, in the heart of Florence. 12 apartments blend Renaissance touches with expert use of colour and material, combining both design and sustainability.
In the architectural world, working on a pre-built structure involves a delicate equation of addition and subtraction. It means finding the right balance between historical recollection and the spirit of the time, between what is linguistically new and what came before.
Palazzo Stefanelli stands in Borgo Pinti, one of the main streets in the historic centre of Florence, Italy. It is a prestigious historical testimony of the 19th century and is currently undergoing a major renovation project led by Florentine architecture practice Pierattelli Architetture. With a range of apartments (including two-bedroom properties and a penthouse suite), the twelve new residences have been renovated in such a way as to preserve the building’s original historic character, elevate architectural and decorative details, and combine these with new contemporary living solutions.
Palazzo Stefanelli is a building consisting of four storeys, one of which is an underground basement. Pierattelli Architetture has developed a renovation project that aims to create 12 apartments all set around a delightful internal green courtyard. Respecting the building’s pre-existing features, the renovation preserves a number of original architectural elements and combines these with elegant, contemporary design. Pierattelli Architetture has also paid special attention to the topic of environmental sustainability and all apartments have a heat pump to cut energy consumption, a BTicino Living Now home automation system and energy-efficient thermal, acoustic doors and windows.
Palazzo Stefanelli: The Interiors
Making the very most of the 19th-century space, the 12 apartments are either on one level or are on split levels with a mezzanine floor. Some apartments have their own terrace or garden and each has a private cellar. Showers in the main bathrooms have been designed so that a Turkish bath can be installed.
The interiors feature a blend of Renaissance elements and modern architecture. Pierattelli Architetture has chosen to really showcase the frescoed ceilings, the large period spaces, and the architectural elements such as beams and trusses. Decorative Renaissance details have also been preserved as part of the renovation, such as the original entrance bell and frescoes in the rooms and entrance hall on the ground floor, an area that originally served as the coach house.
Pierattelli Architetture has also selected a range of materials that help enhance the natural elegance of each space. Wood and travertine marble play a key role and have been used for finishes and surfaces in the living room, bathroom and bedrooms. Tuscan oak herringbone parquet has been chosen for the flooring and this adds a feeling of warmth to the rooms. In the bathroom it combines beautifully with elegant marble surfaces characterised by unique nuances and blue ripples that create a sophisticated feel.
The penthouse is on the third floor of the building and is the real design piece de resistance. It is on two levels and has a spiral staircase and a loggia terrace that provides stunning views over Florence. By keeping (but restoring) the original beams and trusses, Pierattelli Architetture brings touches of another age to the space. The upper floor features a cosy and private home office.
In addition to the ongoing structural work, Pierattelli Architetture has also designed a number of interior solutions and settings. In the bedroom, for example, one side of a slatted Canaletto Walnut wood partition provides the frame for a bespoke design Pierattelli Architetture bed with a large, soft headboard; the reverse side transforms into a spacious walk-in wardrobe. The other rooms showcase an elegant harmony between Renaissance and contemporary elements.
Palazzo Stefanelli is situated in the historic street of Borgo Pinti, which probably dates back to 1100 when it was named Borgo Fulceraco. Borgo (the Italian for village) alludes to the fact that the street was not within the ancient city walls, whilst the meaning of Pinti remains unclear and it is not certain whether it derives from an ancient family, whether it refers to the penitents of a nearby monastery or if it might even refer to the glass-painting monks of the nearby Church of San Giusto. The street was finally included within the city’s walls in the 15th century, when the former Porta a Pinti gate was added.
Facts & Figures
PROJECT: Palazzo Stefanelli
LOCATION: Borgo Pinti 61, Florence, Tuscany
ARCHITECTS: Pierattelli Architetture
AREA: 1200 sq. m
START/END: ongoing since 2019
HOME AUTOMATION SYSTEM: Living Now by BTicino
SERVICES: Seven parking spaces, shared garden, lift, private cellars
Architecture, interiors, industrial design: Pierattelli Architetture’s projects combine functionality, aesthetics and innovation in a multidisciplinary approach.
Every piece of architecture, space or product is custom built in the name of extreme design flexibility, scrupulous contextual interpretation, the needs of the client and historical significance, to generate balanced, contemporary solutions.
With its strong corporate vocation, Pierattelli Architetture began by specialising in the design of corporate offices and banks but over the years the firm’s activity expanded into the hospitality, residential and product design sectors. Sustainability is the founding value of Pierattelli Architetture’s design work, developed on the basis of an awareness that a green approach is not only ethically necessary, but also a driver of economic growth for business.